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Gang wearing hoodies 'jostled' Premier store worker out of the way in shoplifting

PUBLISHED: 17:37 02 October 2018

Garrick Way in Ipswich. Picture: ANDREW PAPWORTH

Garrick Way in Ipswich. Picture: ANDREW PAPWORTH

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An Ipswich shop assistant whose store was targeted by a gang of shoplifters was "jostled" as she tried to stop them leaving by locking them inside the premises, a court has heard.

Mitha Veejaya was working alone in the Premier Store in Garrick Way, Ipswich on April 10 when she became aware of four men wearing hoodies loitering outside the store, Ipswich Crown Court was told.

Mrs Veejaya looked at CCTV cameras in the store after customers warned her what was going on outside the shop and she pressed an emergency button and told the customers to leave, said Oliver Haswell, prosecuting.

After members of the gang entered the store, she tried to lock them inside - but was “jostled” out of the way and four men ran off with two bottles of whisky worth £30.

The court heard that members of the gang entered the store on two other occasions during the same day and stole alcohol worth £60.

Before the court were Ryan Hutchinson, 25, of Kipling Road in Ipswich, Jack Clougherty-Gallagher, 26, of Thackeray Road, Ipswich, and Lee Seaman, 27, of Byron Road, Ipswich.

Hutchinson admitted one offence of theft from Premier Stores in Garrick Way, Ipswich on April 10 this year and a bail offence and was given a four week prison sentence suspended for 12 months.

Clougherty-Gallagher admitted two offences of theft and common assault on Mrs Veejaya and was given a 14-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months.

Seaman admitted two offences of theft and was given a ten week prison sentence suspended for 12 months.

In addition all three defendants were banned from going to the Premier Store in Garrick Way and from contacting Mrs Veejaya for five years.

Sentencing the men Judge Martyn Levett said: “Having watched CCTV footage it’s clear to me that during the whole morning until 1pm there were effectively a series of pre-meditated, planned thefts from this Premier store.”

He said Mrs Veejaya had been left shaken by the thefts and was looking for another job.

Matthew Edwards, for Seaman, said his client had spent 48 days in custody.

Isobel Ascherson, for Hutchinson, said her client had served the equivalent of a seven month prison sentence.

Lynne Shirley for Clougherty-Gallagher said her client had been in custody for 78 days.

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